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Development opportunities for everyone

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Blake Meyrick sitting at his desk with laptop and 2 large screensHi, my name’s Blake Meyrick and I’ve written this blog to detail some of the development opportunities I’ve had since joining HMRC digital as a fast track apprentice. I started here in March 2017, instead of taking up an offer of a place at university, and I am pleased to say I haven’t looked back since.


When I started I had my heart set on getting heavily upskilled with a view to developing my career in the future. All my expectations have not only been met, but have been exceeded. For example, I’ve already completed two professionally accredited courses in Management of Portfolios and PRINCE2 (Project Management).

My development

I work in a small team of 3 change analysts for our Portfolio Management function, processing around £7.5m worth of small changes per year. Recently I started splitting my time between my small changes role and also taking on some work with our reporting team. This move has encouraged me to develop a wider skill set and given me extra stretch in my day-to-day work.

Through my contribution to the reporting team, I have received additional upskilling opportunities, including an Excel intermediate course, 2 weeks of training in reporting using SQL in TIBCO Jaspersoft Studio, and further upcoming training in SQL fundamentals and SQL Language.

A screenshot of  SQL Squirrel coding
SQL Squirrel, a tool used to write queries

Over our two week SQL training period, my team has learned the basics of writing SQL to extract data from our project database. We’ve also learnt how to format the data we extract into a Jasper Report in Jaspersoft Studio, in order to automate the reports that, at the moment, we generate manually. We are playing a part in helping build HMRC’s capability and transforming the way we use data to give a well-rounded view of the great work we deliver within the department.

A screenshot of Jaspersoft Studio
Jaspersoft Studio, used for writing reports

Moving forward

Over the next few months, my colleagues and I will be continuing to develop our skills in this area. We have nearly finished automating our most time-consuming monthly report, which details the status and work being done within 28 programmes and sub-programmes. Once these are automated, our programme managers will be able to review all of the data surrounding their programme at the click of a button, as opposed to requesting manual ad-hoc reports to give them the detail they need.

Our focus will then shift onto the automation of all the other reports that form part of our slide portfolio dashboard, transforming our roles into the interrogation of our data and the development of new reports.

I’ve really enjoyed being given the opportunity to take on different roles and benefit from the development opportunities that came with it.

A portrait of Blake MeyrickHMRC digital offers a rich variety of careers, and there is a clear path for development throughout. I will always look back at the start of my career with the utmost satisfaction that I made the right choice for me in choosing HMRC digital over university.

Blake Meyrick, Fast Track Apprentice

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